Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.

9 percent

Percentage of tweets that hit the 140 character limit on Twitter, according to data from the company. Yesterday they increased the number of characters that can appear in a tweet to 280, thus ruining the service and doubling the length of rope available to Americans with which to hang themselves. Just think of all the careers that will be ruined with that extra 140 characters of self destructive firepower. [Ars Technica]

17 percent

Snap Inc., the public company behind Snapchat, took a beating yesterday after missing analyst revenue predictions. Shares were down 22 percent at one point before finishing down about 17 percent. The company announced it’s going to completely overhaul its core product, a risky if necessary venture for a public company to pull off. [Bloomberg]


A huge shocker in Tuesday’s election in Virginia is just how close the state house may be to flipping to Democrats. As it stands, Democrats have 48 House of Delegates seats in the bag and Republicans have 47. Five races are in recount territory where there’s a margin of 129 votes or fewer, and if all break the way they appear to be it’ll be a 50-50 split. [FiveThirtyEight]

53.9 percent

Democrat Ralph Northam had a resounding win of Virginia’s competitive gubernatorial election yesterday. Republican rival Ed Gillespie closely tied his fortunes to the president’s in the waning weeks of the election. It was a pretty great night for Democrats overall: Phil Murphy won in New Jersey and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio won reelection handily. [FiveThirtyEight]

600 square miles

Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google parent Alphabet, is eliminating the driver in Phoenix. Beginning in the Chandler part of town, a group of test riders will be able to hail completely driverless cars to take them to and from locations in the area. Over time, that domain will expand to 600 square miles, and then further into cities outside of Phoenix. [Recode]

$700 million

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross may have overstated the extent of his own wealth, a ticked-off Forbes magazine reports. The magazine maintains a list of the richest 400 Americans, one that Ross was on for some time. Ross’s net worth was listed by the magazine last year at $2.9 billion — an amount Ross claimed was too low and should be closer to $3.7 billion. Imagine their surprise when financial disclosure forms needed to join the cabinet reported the “billionaire” had $700 million in assets. Forbes has removed Ross from their list of rich guys, and everyone involved comes off as super duper aggravated by this turn of events. [Forbes]

Check out Besides the Points, my new sports newsletter.

If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.